Archeological sites near Giverny and Vernon

Version Francaise :

COVERED ALLEY OF DAMPSMESNIL
(listed as an Historical Monument since 1907)

15 km from Vernon or Giverny. Follow signs Gasny then Ecos, then Dampsmesnil, then Aveny.
Signs indicating the spot of the burial place will guide you from the entrance of the village to the wood. The Covered Alley is situated at the top of a wooden slope called "le bois de cocagne".

The monument is made of three dolmens placed next to another which constitute the funeral room. The latter is constituted by a pierced slab destinated to receive a plug. The monument is preceded by a vestibule that is now uncovered. The upper part of the slab and the plug have disappeared. At the origin the monument may have been completely covered by earth, forming a tumulus as there are many in Brittany. What is sure is that it belongs to the type of civilisation called SOM (Seine Oise Marne) and that it was built between 2500 and 2000 before J.C. by the first farmers.

The covered alley is now 9 meters long. It was for sure a burial place since human bones and fragments of skull have been found here. Unfortunately it was visited by pillagers. However they have not completely destroyed the vestiges of its first occupants.

Bear, horse and dog teeth, polished axes and pottery pieces, the head of an arrow made of grey silex (among others) have been found.

Anyhow the jewell of the Covered Alley remains the noteworthy sculpture on the vertical stone, at the entrance to the monument. This sculpture is the most ancient known in Normandy and it is iteized in foreign countries. Specialists consider it belongs to the world patrimony (only five specimen exist in the world). It is called "Death Godess" or "Funeral Godess" or sometimes "Fertility Godess". It has been moulded in resin on July 1985 and it is exposed in five museums.

More pictures of Dampsmesnil covered alley, end of December at sunset

ROCK SHELTERS OF MESTREVILLE

300 m away from RN 15 between Vernon and Gaillon, at the hamlet of Mestreville, reachable through a small footpath starting from the locality called "Le Clos Ardent".

There are three rockshelters 30m to 40m from one another. They were excavated by A.G. Poulain, the archeologist who founded the museum of Vernon. In the largest, called the Mammoth he discovered flints, splinters of deer autlers and the shinbone of a mammoth.

In the second shelter he found the entire skeleton of an old woman, which belongs to the period of the polished stone and is to be seen at the Natural History Museum of Rouen.

The third shelter delivered fragments of three skeletons, an adult and two children, an entire vase, and flints. These objects are exhibited at the Museum of Vernon.

ENTRENCHED CAMP OF THE GOULET

One kilometer away from the rock shelters at the locality of "le Pied Anglais" (the English Foot).

This camp is formed by a fortified enclosure, protected by a steep slope and surrounded by a wide and very deep ditch.

Excavations carried out by A.G.Poulain enabled to gather a flint scraper and a knife, and also small objects in iron and bronze.

NEOLITHIC BURIAL PLACE OF HOULBEC COCHEREL

First prehistorical site discovered in the world

Uphill from the village of Cocherel, on the right bank of the Eure river at the bottom of a steep slope.

In 1685 an ossuary was discovered halfway up a hill. There were burnt bones and ashes in it, along with arrows and hatchets and about twenty skeletons lying parallel towards the South. There were covered with large stone slabs. This strange monument is not completely distroyed.

This neolithic burial place was carefully described by its finders and marked the first case and the birth of scientific prehistory in the world.

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Modified :Thursday, 26-Aug-2004 13:20:45 EDT